How to sabotage a doctor’s appointment

by Diana E. Lee

None of us really wants to sabotage a doctor’s appointment through our own behavior. But it’s easy to do just that by not paying attention to the factors within our control that affect the quality of our appointments.

These are some behaviors to avoid at all costs:

1. Show up late for appointments. It’s an unfortunate fact that sometimes our doctors keep us waiting. But it doesn’t do any good to do the same and be late for our appointments. Keeping them waiting leaves you very little time for an already short appointment and takes away the doctor and staff’s ability to provide good care. Not to mention that it’s completely rude. Make your care a priority and be on time.

2. Come unprepared. Being prepared for your appointment just makes sense. What questions have been on your mind? How have your medications and other treatments been working? Are you experiencing side effects or do you have other concerns? Have you heard about a newer medication or treatment? Being a partner in your own care is key to making the most of your health. Your doctor can only do so much without your cooperation and coming prepared to your appointments is a big part of that.

3. Don’t tell the staff how your medications or other treatments have changed since your last appointment. If you see other doctors you must assume it is your responsibility to keep the others informed about medication and treatment changes. Some doctors and their staffs are great about keeping everyone on your team in the loop, but this is rare. It’s in your best interest to come to each appointment prepared to help the staff update your file with the latest information.

4. Don’t ask questions.
Asking questions is imperative! Try to come with a list of questions already prepared, but also be ready to ask on the spot questions about new medications or treatments or other issues that occur to you during the appointment.

5. Leave your cell phone ringer on, take calls or text during your appointment. Let’s face it: This behavior is not only distracting to you and your doctor, it’s flat out rude. Why sabotage your relationship with your doctor by being rude? You’re also wasting your limited time with your doctor if you’re not fully presenting and paying attention. If you have an emergency just tell the staff up front.

Diana E. Lee is a chronic migraine patient who blogs at Somebody Heal Me.

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